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App review by Patricia Monticello Kievlan, Common Sense Education | Updated August 2015


Instant-broadcasting tool is iffy for kids, might be boon for teachers

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Communication & Collaboration, Creativity

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Pros: Super-simple interface and some good privacy features might make this a good tool for teachers.

Cons: Serious privacy concerns if kids fly solo; default privacy settings may reveal too much.

Bottom Line: Used with purpose, this could be a game-changing, innovative tool for your classroom, but teachers need to be mindful of -- and take seriously -- the privacy pitfalls.

Kids under 13 can't use Periscope under its terms of use, and teachers in general should be mindful of who and what they feature in videos they shoot. However, with buy-in from parents, signed media releases, and frank discussion with students about digital footprints, you could use Periscope to extend classroom community and put student work on display to an authentic audience. You could take activities such as Mystery Skype to Periscope, giving tours of your school, neighborhood, or sites in your city. Use Periscope to record presentations in class and have kids live-comment or give live "hearts." Have kids manage a Q&A during a broadcast, using the comment feature to ask questions and respond in real time. Play with the broadcast settings to customize who can see your broadcast. Also, think about ways you might use this to give students a window into your world: If you go on a trip or are off-site for professional development, use Periscope to dial in to your students and update them on your adventures. Connect with other schools or with bigwigs around the world to go on virtual field trips to spaces and places your students might not otherwise access -- and submit questions from your students to interact with your Periscope presenter. Use Periscope to flip the classroom: You can save videos automatically to your camera roll, so use this as your go-to video shooter if you need a speedy way to film something in class and then make it available to your students later.

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Editor's Note: Periscope is no longer available.

Periscope is an app that lets you live-broadcast from your mobile device via Twitter. Broadcasters can select who can view their broadcasts -- only themselves, only their Twitter followers, or the world -- and then can choose to save videos to their camera rolls for later use. During the broadcast, viewers can submit comments or tap the screen to give "hearts" for encouragement. The video stays live on the app for 24 hours to the same people who originally had viewing privileges, and after-the-fact viewers can tap to add more hearts and watch the comments as they happened in real time.  

To find a Periscope feed to watch, users can browse videos from people they follow on Twitter and browse a live map of Periscopes happening around the world. Users can then instantly jump onto public Periscopes to view, comment, and add hearts.

There are some serious privacy concerns with Periscope, and you can read more about this from the perspective of parents and kids in the Common Sense Media review. When teachers use the app, though, the potential is huge. Since Periscope's release, teachers have used the tool as a classroom flipper, a presentation tool, a discussion forum, and more. Used thoughtfully and purposefully, there is great potential here: Teachers could use Periscope to give their students access to places they might not otherwise be able to go during the school day, and it could be a great tool for connecting with your students when you can't meet them in person (snow days, anyone?). That real-time commenting feature could make for a great Q&A session with you as a teacher, with another teacher, or with an expert elsewhere offering your a remote lesson or virtual tour. It's been useful to many teachers on Twitter as a professional development tool for sharing best practices and favorite tools or just hosting topical discussions.

As with any tech tool, if you don't have a good plan for use in the classroom, you're not going to have meaningful educational impact. A cool tool like Periscope is only as good in your classroom as the activity you design around it: If the lesson is rich and thoughtfully designed, you'll be in good shape. If not, be cautious about using a potentially iffy and awfully intrusive social media tool without good reason.

Overall Rating


Whether you're broadcasting to a limited audience or to the world, Periscope's live broadcasting and instant interaction with viewers is endlessly engaging, though it can be intrusive.


While it's a tricky fit for student-driven learning, it helps teachers connect with their students and with other classrooms around the world.


Periscope is super easy to use, and its features are pretty intuitive. As more teachers start to adopt it in the classroom, a resource guide of best practices from teachers would be a big help.

Common Sense reviewer
Patricia Monticello Kievlan Foundation/nonprofit member

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